STAFF PICK: We know the numbers of you who at best shrug sheepishly, and at worst sneak guiltily into Starbucks behind dark sunglasses and under cover of night, hoping your pleasure at those plush purple Ikea chairs goes undetected. This ubiquitous corporation has a reputation tantamount to being the Seattle Death Star of the coffee universe, suffocating every lone and local café in its path. Only a soulless capitalist could embrace that dark flavor and smooth texture; the freedom of having any percentage of milk fat per serving, four sizes of large to choose from, in any flavor under the sun, hot, iced or blended with real whipped cream on top ... right? Maybe, maybe not. Consider the facts: Starbucks offers full medical coverage and stock options to all employees nationally, including part-timers. They offer on-the-job management training to adults (many under the age of 20) with no previous experience, and automatic raises every three to six months, and a stock bonus commensurate with the number of hours worked during the first year of employment. Starbucks earns the real kind of interest on its substantial capital--human interest. The day all monolithic corporations turn as evil as that, we'll shave our heads and start a new religion called The Invisible Hand. In the meantime, just go order your venti vanilla latte with skim milk and whipped cream, and do it with gusto!
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